Pro-Life Groups: Congressman Wrong to Silence SBA on ObamaCare, Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 23, 2010   |   7:10PM   |   Columbus, OH

Local pro-life groups in Ohio and Cincinnati are coming to the defense of a pro-life organization targeted by a “pro-life Democratic” congressman. Rep. Steve Driehaus wants to shut down the Susan B. Anthony List’s efforts to inform his constituents he voted for the ObamaCare bill allowing abortion funding.

Driehaus filed a criminal complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission saying that billboards the SBA List intended to purchase saying he voted for taxpayer funding of abortions was inaccurate.

If the Ohio agency sides with Driehaus, as initially appears to be the case, the agency could fine the organization or hold its president or staff accountable for supposedly breaking a state campaign finance law against misleading voters and punish SBA List officials with jail time.

SBA List president Marjorie Dannenfelser told today that several pro-life groups in Ohio back SBA List’s contention that the bill Driehaus voted for does actually allow abortion funding and that Driehaus violated his stated pro-life views by supporting it.

“Local pro-life leaders overwhelmingly agree that Steve Driehaus voted for taxpayer funding of abortion when he cast his health care vote,” she said.

She added that “Steve Driehaus’ threats to silence his critics have fallen on deaf ears. These leaders are working tirelessly to spread the truth in their communities about the pro-abortion health care bill that he voted for.”

Paula Westwood, the director of Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati, said, “The Susan B. Anthony List has the right to publicize any legislator’s voting record and their opinion of it. The Susan B. Anthony List is correct that Congressman Steve Driehaus voted for a bill that includes federal funding for abortion. Congressman Driehaus can disagree, but legal action against those he disagrees with is blatant disregard for free speech rights, which a public office holder should understand and uphold.”

Mike Gonidakis, the director of Ohio Right to Life, agreed.

“Rep. Steve Driehaus voted for a pro-abortion health care bill and now attempts to hide behind an executive order signed by President Obama. Not only is the executive order not worth the paper it is written on as it cannot trump statutory law, but it repeats the accounting gimmick that allows for federal subsidies for insurance plans that cover abortion,” he said. “Ohio Right to Life Society stands with the Susan B. Anthony List in its efforts to spread the truth about Rep. Steve Driehaus.”

Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell also weighed in on the dispute.

“The health care bill that Rep. Steve Driehaus voted for is a death sentence to an untold number of innocent unborn babies and he knows it. Rep. Driehaus had the opportunity to stand up to President Obama and Speaker Pelosi and demand real protections for the unborn but, instead, he caved to party pressure,” he said. “Desperate times call for desperate actions, and going out of his way to make criminals out of a respected pro-life group is truly, truly desperate.”

Jennifer Giroux of Human Life International America, Lori Viars of Family First, Jack Wilke of the Life Issues Institute, Bobbi Radeck of Concerned Women for America, Phil Burress of Citizens for Community Values Action, and Chris Long of the Ohio Christian Alliance also issued statements saying SBA is correct that the bill funded abortions and blasted Driehaus for attempting to silence the group.

On Monday, the SBA List filed a federal lawsuit with a U.S. District Court arguing that Ohio’s election laws are unconstitutional and that Rep. Driehaus and his lawyers are violating the free speech rights of the SBA List.

On Tuesday, he SBA List announced a $50,000 radio ad buy across Rep. Driehaus’ district to continue to spread its message. The next day, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Ohio filed an Amicus Brief in support of the SBA List’s case.